Appreciation for Haywards Heath volunteer

Graham Ellis. Picture by Toby Phillips Photography
Graham Ellis. Picture by Toby Phillips Photography

A hospice is praising a volunteer for their continued support throughout the year.

Graham Ellis, from Haywards Heath, is one of more than 800 volunteers who supports St Catherine’s Hospice, based at Crawley.

It comes as part of the national Hospice Care Week, where the centre takes the opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of their volunteers.

Mr Ellis leads meditation sessions to relax patients at the Sussex hospice.

Providing at least 144 meditation sessions last year alone he says volunteering is highly rewarding.

He said: “I’m at St Catherine’s three days a week, offering meditation to individual people staying on the wards and providing group meditation in Day Hospice.

“I’ve recorded meditation CDs for people to use at home, and also relatives referred via the Patient and Family Support Team.

“When I’m doing meditation people physically relax.

“The room becomes very calm and peaceful, and it’s wonderful to see everybody smile after a session.

“It’s like a cloud of tiredness or depression has lifted off them.”

The volunteer has been leading sessions at the hospice for three years.

He says what has been on offer has made a difference to many people receiving treatment.

The selfless man added: “It’s sometimes difficult to step out into the real world after being at St Catherine’s.

“But if you didn’t you wouldn’t appreciate the special atmosphere.

“The hospice truly deserves the support of local people because it’s an amazing place.

“The compassion and sheer dedication the staff and my fellow volunteers show means no one coming to the hospice ever has to worry.

“You could call it paradise with amazing people and lovely cakes but it’s more than that, it’s love, compassion and caring.

“It’s a pure world of peace and stillness and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.

“I encourage people to just do it when thinking about volunteering.”

The hospice helps people face death informed, supported and pain free.

Those interested in volunteering can call 01293 447351.